Delta will not be offering any more flights out of Peoria International Airport, at least for a while.
The airline halted service out of Peoria in June as COVID-19 diminished travel. Delta recently notified the Metropolitan Airport Authority, changing that suspension into a termination as of last week.
“It doesn’t really make much of a practical difference right off the bat, because they had already suspended service,” said Airport Director Gene Olson. “What it does is it just makes it more difficult for us to bring them back. I mean, we already always knew that we were going to have our work cut out for us to get them to start flights again.”
Olson pointed to 2019 travel figures of 689,416 passengers as an indication that Peoria will be a viable location after the pandemic subsides, potentially motivating Delta to reconsider its decision down the road.
“There’s a pretty substantial market here, and last year was a record-setting year,” said Olson. “Delta was a little over 16% of our total traffic in terms of passenger numbers. So I can’t imagine that they would walk away from a market of that size.”
After a strong start to the year through the first two months, the airport has endured its slowest year since 1973 with just 276,197 passengers through October.
Olson said community backing will be key in enticing Delta to return and noted there isn’t a second option for a possible replacement.
“There really aren’t any other carriers if you look at what’s available to an airport of our size,” he said.
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